STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE

Job stress, which Time magazine called “The Epidemic of the Eighties” Is defined as the harmful physical and emotional outcomes that occur when the requirements of a job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker.

In the United States, recent polls found that 70 per cent of American workers consider their workplace a significant source of stress, whereas 51 per cent report job stress reduces their productivity.  In the mid-1990’s, a survey conducted by the Manufacturing, Science, and finance Union of 412 workplaces (employing 140,000 workers) throughout the UK showed that job stress in the UK had reached “epidemic proportions.

A large percentage of Americans are affected by moderate to extreme work related stress. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that 40 percent of workers reported that their job was very or extremely stressful. Also, 25 percent of those questioned in the study said that work related stress was the number one stressor in their lives.

Both stress and anxiety are parts of every day life which can propel us to be productive and rise to the challenge of tough situations. However, chronic stress and  anxiety can be harmful and could be the precursor to physical, emotional, and psychological problems like infection, heart diseases, and depression. However,stress perception,interpretation and adaptation can be multi factorial ranging from lifestyle, genetics, socio-economic status,culture,religion and environmental hence the need to always seek professional counselling.

 

JOB STRESS AND HEALTH RISKS

Job stress and other life stressors like cortisol and adrenaline  are well-known causative factors in many diseases, including cardiovascular ailments, gastrointestinal dysfunctions, hormone imbalances, and maladies of the immune system.  Occupational stress may also heighten risky behaviors such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, discourage healthy behaviors such as physical activity, proper diet and increase consumption of fatty and sweet foods

Occupational stress, pressure and fear may lead to burn outs, easy fatiguability, chronic fatigue syndrome with concomitant medical and emotional problems. Job stress commonly emanate from overworked employees required to do extended work hours or overtime. This is common with TV and film productions when shootings and editing would go on until past midnight and wrap up the next day. Continuing work at home can add more stress as quality time with the family and home reduces.

Strife or conflict in the workplace is a common source of job stress especially with office mates or even with the boss. Situations like this can affect a worker’s morale concentration and ultimately performance,as well as engendering relationship problems at the work place. A wrong career can also cause stress and anxiety which leads to de-motivation, lack of enthusiasm, poor performance,job dissatisfaction and burn-outs.

Persistent and unrelenting stress can lead to Clinical depression,anxiety disorders and unhealthy behaviors like inappropriate affects,memory impairment.The following symptoms are common with anxiety: ataxia,twitching, trembling or restlessness, muscle tension, sweating, dry mouth, difficulty in swallowing, abdominal cramps and pain, eating disorders like gluttony and anorexia, abuse of alcohol and drugs, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, diarrhea, frequent need to urinate, fatigue, irritability, loss of temper, sleeping problems, lack of concentration, and sexual problems. These symptoms if unmitigated could lead to sub-clinical depression. Remember to seek medical attention or counselling if you experience any of these symptoms.

 

The information packed resource of Dr Andrew Okpetu shows health-conscious persons how to navigate the current competitive work environment laden with much health risks of job stress and anxiety. Please keep a date with this health-enriching resource for the most up-to-date information on stress, health and anxiety.

 


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